WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Molder, Paul Goydos and Brandt Snedeker earned spots in the British Open on Sunday in the AT&T National.
Molder and Goydos earned spots through a special money list that covers six tournaments, while Snedeker got there because he was the leading player among the top five at Congressional who hadn’t already qualified.
“Floored and excited,” said Snedeker, whose closing round of 67 was just enough to earn him a tie for fifth at 7-under 273.
Snedeker wasn’t even aware that he had qualified when he left the course at Congressional Country Club. He missed eight weeks earlier this year with a rib injury and had been planning to play the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee during the week of the British, which takes place at Turnberry in Scotland in two weeks.
“My golf game was in bad shape before I got hurt,” Snedeker said. “The first time I felt healthy, I didn’t know what to think about coming back out. People gave me the sympathy vote last week when I made the cut – first cut I’d made in a while, and it ticked me off. I don’t want sympathy. This week, I felt like I proved to everyone and myself that I can get back to where I was.”
Molder will be playing the British for the first time, while Goydos and Snedeker both missed the cut last year at Royal Birkdale.
“I know I was fairly close,” said Molder, who closed with a 68 for an 8-under 272 total to finish fourth. “I knew it was a lot of factors going on; it wasn’t just me playing well, it was other people if they played well. … It sounds like I’m in now, and I’m really excited.”
CANCEL THAT FLIGHT: Danny Lee had planned to hustle to the airport as soon as his final round was finished. The U.S. Amateur champion had booked a Sunday night flight to Europe so that he could play in the Scottish Open.
Instead, the U.S. Amateur champion played so well that his travel itinerary changed. His final round of 70 gave him a top 10 finish at the AT&T National – tied for seventh with a 6-under 274 total – earning him an automatic spot in the John Deere Classic in Illinois without using up one of his remaining PGA Tour exemptions.
“I was in a hurry to catch a flight to Scotland, and now I’ve got to cancel my flight,” he said. “Those things happen. I can play another PGA event.”
Lee earned $180,750 this weekend, more than doubling his total earnings in his seven events since turning pro in late April. His $350,054 is about two-thirds of the way to the $537,958 he needs to put him on the PGA Tour for the rest of the year.
“I’m very pumped up and I’ve been playing great this week,” Lee said. “I don’t really worry about the money at the moment, I’m just pumped up because I can play another PGA event with all those greatest players in the world.”
The last-minute change won’t keep Lee off the trans-Atlantic flights for long. The 19-year-old from New Zealand said he still wants to play his minimum number of 12 tournaments this year to retain his membership in the PGA European Tour.
ALLEN WRENCHES: So much for breaking that 0-for-336 slump. Michael Allen had a tough final round of 74 to tie for 11th, making him winless in 337 tries on the PGA Tour.
The 50-year-old Allen started the day one shot off the lead, but he had trouble finding the fairway and bogeyed four of the first eight holes. After No. 8, he walked to the gallery and kissed one of his daughters, drawing a sympathetic “Ahhhhhh!” from the fans.
Allen’s next hole turned out to be the only one in which he broke par – and he did it with the shot of the day. He holed a 9-iron from 143 yards for an eagle on the par-5 No. 9, then celebrated by taking off his visor and raising his hands as if to signal “touchdown!”
Otherwise, Allen and partner Cameron Beckman spent the day playing in front of a distracted crowd. They were the next-to-last pairing in front of Tiger Woods and Anthony Kim, so the fans often had their heads turned in the wrong direction. When Beckman should have been expecting quiet as he lined up to putt at the seventh hole, the gallery roared for Woods’ birdie putt on the nearby sixth.